Big First Half Carries Vista Murrieta to Easy Playoff Win

By Sierra Trujillo The Vista Murrieta High School football team is moving on in the CIF playoffs after a dominating win against the Cowboy...

By Sierra Trujillo

The Vista Murrieta High School football team is moving on in the CIF playoffs after a dominating win against the Cowboys of Canyon High in the first round Friday night. The Broncos won 56-28, with their first-half momentum carrying them through the game.

The Broncos lit up the scoreboard in the first half, scoring 42 points and holding the Cowboys to a single touchdown with a blocked PAT. Junior quarterback Kyle Williams scored three of the Broncos’ six first-half touchdowns, including a 63-yard run on the Broncos’ first offensive play of the game.

Williams was taken out of the game at halftime due to a nagging ankle injury, but not before throwing the ball for 150 yards and rushing for 110 yards.

"We played a great first half and made some subs in the second half," said coach Coley Candaele. "We don’t need to lose anybody at this time. [Williams] has had a little ankle issue all year, so no reason to continue and take a chance."

Senior running back Tito Feliciano also had an impressive first half. He scored two touchdowns, including a punt return taken back to the end zone with 56 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

"Defensively, we made the stops we needed to make and offense was clicking and we got a special teams touchdown right there at the half," said Candaele. "We had all three facets working very well."

With Williams out for the remainder of the game, Vista Murrieta struggled to keep its energy flowing into the third quarter. The Cowboys were able to cut the deficit to 21 points before the Broncos scored two touchdowns in the last 30 seconds of the third quarter. Sophomore running back Cole Dubots had a kickoff return for a touchdown, followed by a pick-6 by senior defensive back Brandon Worthy on the next play.

"We had to pick it up. The last few weeks had been kind of slow," said Dubots. "We practiced really well and in the first half we showed that. The second half it kind of slowed down a bit. We need to pick it up. We have to play a full game."

The Cowboys scored their final touchdown in the last seconds of the game, but the Broncos had already sealed the victory. Feliciano ultimately rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Colin Baker had three receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown.

While Vista Murrieta had a great regular season and pulled off an easy win against Canyon, the team’s playoff run is not going to be easy. Not only are the Broncos facing tough opponents, but tough criticism as well.

"We got a little motivation from the disrespect that our league got in the CIF bracketing and we got a little disrespect in the papers about how weak our league is," said Candaele. "We’re not as bad as everyone thinks."

After securing a win in the first playoff game, Vista Murrieta will play Tesoro High School at home next Friday in the second round of the Inland Division playoffs.

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